Discussion paper

DP15237 Exposure to ethnic minorities changes attitudes to them

Does exposure to ethnic minorities change the majority's attitudes towards them? We investigate this question using novel panel data on attitudes from a general-population sample in the Netherlands matched to geographical data on refugees. We find that people who live in neighborhoods of refugees for a sufficiently long time acquire a more positive attitude. Instead, people living in municipalities hosting refugees, but not in their close neighborhood, develop a more negative attitude. The positive neighborhood effect is particularly strong for groups that are likely to have personal contact with refugees suggesting that contact with minorities can effectively reduce prejudice.


Albrecht, S, R Ghidoni, E Cettolin and S Suetens (2020), ‘DP15237 Exposure to ethnic minorities changes attitudes to them‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 15237. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp15237